While you may think that a first-time operating under the influence (OUI) offense is not too serious, it can still have long-term consequences for you. A first-time OUI offender can face severe legal repercussions, including hefty fines, suspension of their driving license, and the possibility of probation.
Like most states, Massachusetts has a no-tolerance policy towards OUI to protect the safety of its citizens and roads. Here is a closer look at the first offense OUI penalties in Massachusetts.
Does Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Matter?
The driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of arrest determines the consequences of the offense. The permitted BAC level in Massachusetts is 0.08%. If your BAC exceeds this threshold, you will be subject to harsher punishments than those with BACs below 0.08%.
BAC Below 0.08%
Keep in mind that even if your BAC is below 0.08%, you may still face charges for an OUI. Typically, the penalties may be less severe. They can include:
- A driver’s license suspension of up to 30 days
- A fine of up to $500
While these penalties are not as harsh as other offenses, any OUI conviction can impact your driving record and insurance rates.
BAC 0.08% or Higher
Those drivers with a BAC at or above 0.08% can expect more severe penalties. A first-time offense will result in:
- A driver’s license suspension of up to 1 year
- A fine of up to $5,000
- Possibility of probation
Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
In Massachusetts, some OUI penalties could have a requirement that applies to both low and high-BAC offenders: the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in your vehicle.
This breathalyzer device prevents your car from starting unless you pass a test. Even for a first-offense OUI, the court may order the installation of an IID as a condition of reinstating your driving privileges.
Consult with an Attorney
Dealing with OUI charges in Massachusetts can be challenging. No matter the offense, you will want to seek legal advice. By enlisting help, you can better understand your case’s unique circumstances.
Often, a skilled and qualified attorney will help you mitigate some of those severe consequences. You may even be able to get an acquittal. However, without the assistance of an OUI attorney, it can be difficult to fight these charges in court.
If you are facing a first-time OUI charge, your penalties will depend on various factors. Regardless of whether your BAC is below or above the legal limit, you will want to understand the potential consequences. Many times, these penalties include:
- License suspension
- Participation in the alcohol or drug diversion programs
Don’t Let an OUI Charge Affect Your Future
To protect your rights and navigate the legal process, it is recommended that you seek the guidance of an experienced attorney. Remember that responsible and sober driving is not only a legal obligation but also a necessary step in ensuring your safety and the safety of others on the road.
For over 50 years, the Law Offices of Joseph D. Bernard P.C. has helped thousands of clients resolve their OUI cases. We provide outstanding defense services to Springfield, Hyannis, Belchertown, and Cape Cod communities. We offer a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case. Contact us by calling (413)-731-9995 or texting (413)-225-2072 today!